North Central Costa Rica

19th April 2011

There was little to keep us in San José [4], the capital of Costa Rica. After a visit to the rim of nearby steaming Volcán Poás surrounded by coffee plantations, we headed to La Fortuna [5], in the central north. The main attraction here is the perfect cone shaped, active Volcán Arenal.


In the lush, tropical garden setting of Arenal Natura Ecological Park we were able to observe rare and endangered frog in large, plant filled terrariums. The enthusiastic, knowledgeable staff took time to point out the well camouflaged frogs and explain the different breeding habits.  There are about 30 different species, some you could never see in the wild.


To reach Monteverde (green mountain) [6], we took a boat across Laguna de Arenal followed by a bus over rolling green hills of pasture land and forest. Together with the little village of Santa Elena, Monteverde offers it all, swinging through the trees, cloud forest trails, frogs, birds, butterflies, orchids, hummingbirds, and lots of tourists. Next stop Nicaragua via Peñas Blancas [7].


Traditional painted coffee wagon

Smoking Volcán Poás

Endemic flower in the acidic atmosphere of the volcano

Huge Ceiba tree, about 100 years old, in the Arenal National Park

Oro Pendula bird

Many of these blue Urraca birds around La Fortuna

Volcán Arenal

Orange orchids on the volcano

Ginger flower

Red eyed tree frog

Hour glass frog

See-through glass frog

Tiny poison frog

The only frog with a spur for fighting

Laguna de Arenal

Monteverde Cloud Forest





Flower of the cloud forest

Another forest flower

Bright coloured parrot